This past summer, Vault Comics announced that it would publish Rockstars: The Complete Collection, the long-awaited collection of the hit series originally published under Image Comics. Written by Joe Harris and with art by Megan Hutchison-Cates, the popular comic features colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick, letters by Michael David Thomas, and designs by Tom Muller and Tim Daniel.
Not only will this edition compile the entire published run, but it will also include the never-before-collected second arc, “Children of the Beast.”
Harris and Hutchison-Cates sat down for an interview with The Beat to discuss the world of Rockstars and why Vault was the right choice for its next incarnation.
Deanna Destito: Why was shifting Rockstars to Vault for this collection the right choice?
Joe Harris: Vault has been killing it lately, like an insurgency within the comics industry, and we’ve been grateful and excited that they’ve picked up Rockstars to give it the collected release it deserves. It’s a very “now” place to be.
Megan Hutchison-Cates: I’ve always loved Vault’s work — they’re like the A24 of comics! Their titles are so diverse with engaging stories and unique voices. You really can’t go wrong picking up any of their books. It was an honor for them to pick up the whole collection of Rockstars because we knew it would be in good hands and in some very impressive company.
Destito: This collection also includes the never-before-collected second arc. Do you have any plans for more arcs in the future or more from this universe?
Harris: Well, that’d be nice. There are certainly more supernatural rock n’ roll stories I’d like to tell, myths I’d love to explore, etc.
Hutchison-Cates: We pretty thoroughly developed the whole world of Rockstars so we’d have so many other stories to tell and characters to explore. So, hopefully, yes!
Destito: What is your favorite conspiracy theory in rock history and why?
Harris: I go back and forth on this. We reference a number of them in the book: from the Beatles and the “Paul is Dead” paranoia through the Pink Floyd phenomenon surrounding the synching up of “Dark Side of the Moon” with “The Wizard of Oz”… but I think my favorite involves the phenomenon of “backwards messages” and the paranoia surrounding the harder rock and metal of the 1980s. Music is never more appealing than when it’s forbidden. There were, of course, real backwards messages recorded on a track within so, so many songs, which ain’t nothing, really. My band did that in high school with a multitrack recorder and some studio time. You can do it now with your iPhone.
Harris (cont.): But lately I’ve been kind of awed by the “Elvis Lives” phenomenon, particularly the way it used to get covered during my 1980s childhood. You’d read about sightings and not, if I do recall correctly, entirely from the supermarket tabloids. I remember an article in the paper when I was in grade school that featured artist depictions of Elvis Presley, as he’d look today, had he not died from a heart attack in 1977. There was something in the water of popular culture back then, this want to believe beloved artists taken from us before their time, might be alive out there somewhere. Jim Morrison’s death and supposed “resurrection” were the subject of similar conspiracy theories. This was all crystallized in the movie “Eddie and the Cruisers” starring Michael Pare.
Hutchison-Cates: I grew up during the Satanic Panic so I was told that if you listen to Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da by the Beatles backwards it says “Hey Devil, Ho Devil”. Well, being the tech-savvy kid that I was, I figured out how to record that and play it backwards, and what do you know? It does sound like it! But it could really sound like anything if you wanted it to (that whole idea of perceived reality.) I was also told that I would be kidnapped and sacrificed to Satan, and that didn’t happen either.
Destito: What else can fans look forward to seeing in this collected edition?
Harris: Sexy demons and cats with ulterior motives. Along with the introduction of Officer Ricky Rhoads as he chases down criminals in the 1980s Los Angeles-set television show, “Hair Metal Detectives On the Sunset Strip” (woven into the background of the story, playing from rando background television sets.)
Hutchison-Cates: There’s a lot of hair and a lot of spandex in the collected edition. And a really hot chick. So, you know, all the good stuff. There are also some good easter eggs if you are a real rock-n-roll nerd (like Joe.)
Destito: If you could get this creative team back together for another gig, what sort of project would you want to work on?
Harris: I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but the aforementioned 1980s detective series involving long, feathered-hair detectives in spandex, slung with guitars and groupies, and fighting crime in 1980s Hollywood is a story that needs to be told.
Hutchison-Cates: I’d love to explore the world of Rockstars more but that being said, Joe is a good horror writer, and I like to draw horror things so probably something with monsters and gore.
Rockstars: The Complete Collection will be available on Wednesday, November 10. In the meantime, check out a preview of the entire first chapter here!